A former emergency room doctor accused of a 2002 double-homicide will appear in court at 1 p.m. today for a hearing to dismiss the murder trial.

Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said legal counsel for Richard Conte, 61, is seeking a motion to dismiss the charges based on prosecutorial delay. The defense has also claimed that a witness in the case has died.

Hiland said the prosecution is seeking a mental evaluation at the hearing.

Conte was charged in August with the shooting deaths of Carter Elliott and Timothy Robertson at Elliott’s home in Conway. He pleaded not guilty.

The charges were filed two days before Conte was to be released from a Nevada correctional facility, where he was serving year nine of a 15-year sentence for drugging, kidnapping and holding his ex-wife, Lark Guthright-Elliott, also Carter Elliott’s ex-wife, against her will at his Douglas County, Nev. home about a month after the murders.

Conte was extradited to Faulkner County in October to enter a plea for the murder charges.

Elliott owned industrial solvent manufacturer Detco and was a mentor to Robertson. The pair were working together to build a deck for Elliott’s home in the Shady Valley subdivision in west Conway when they were killed on May 18, 2002.

In 2002, investigators said that Conte was a prime suspect in the case, but he was not arrested at the time of the murders because evidence against him was circumstantial.

Among evidence that was found to link Conte to the murders were copies of downloaded Conway maps and the scanner frequencies for local police agencies on his computer.

H. G. Foster was the 20th Judicial District prosecuting attorney at the time of the murders. Marcus Vaden took the position in 2006, and Hiland followed in 2010.

(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by phone at 505-1277 or by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)